Noted scientist R.A. Mashelkar, yoga expert B.K.S. Iyenger, actors Kamal Haasan and Vidya Balan, tennis player Leander Paes, cricketer Yuvraj Singh, and former chief justice of India, the late J.S.Verma were Saturday conferred the Padma awards on the eve of the 65th Republic Day.
While Mashelkar and Iyengar were the two named for Padma Vibhushan, 24 eminent people including Verma, Justice Dalveer Bhandari, Haasan, writers Anita Desai and Ruskin Bond, badminton player P.Gopichand and Paes got the Padma Bhushan.
The 101 conferred the Padma Shri include Vidya Balan and Paresh Rawal, cricketers Yuvraj and Anjum Chopra, Odisha sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik, and fashion designer Wendell Rodricks.
Padma Awards – the country’s highest civilian awards, are conferred to eminent people for their contribution in the field of social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service.
The awards will be presented by President Pranab Mukherjee at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan around March/April.
Of the total 127 Padma Awardees, 27 are women and ten are foreigners, NRIs and PIOs.
Verma, who headed a government committee set up in the wake of the Dec 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape to frame a tough law for crime against women, has been awarded Padma Bhushan posthumously in the public affairs category. Bhandari is a former apex court judge who now represents India in the International Court of Justice.
Others who have been conferred Padma Bhushan include artist Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, classical singer Begum Parveen Sultana and ghatam performer T.H. Vinayakram.
Padmanabham Balram, Madappa Mahadevappa, Thirumalachari Ramasami, Vinod Prakash Sharma, Radhakrishnan Koppillil, and (late) Anumolu Ramakrishna have been conferred Padma Bhushan for science and engineering.
Padma Bhushan for literature and education has been conferred on Mrityunjay Athreya, Anita Desai, Dhirubhai Thakar, Vairamuthu Ramasamy Thevar and Ruskin Bond, Anisuzzaman (Bangladesh), Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne H. Rudolph (both US) jointly.
While Neelam Kler got Padma Bhushan for medicine, Vijayendra Nath Kaul got the award in the civil service category.
Kler is a senior consultant in the neonatology department in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here, as well as president of the National Neonatology Forum.
The Padma Shri awardees also include Paresh Rawal, cricketers Anjum Chopra and Yuvraj Singh, kabaddi player Sunil Dabas for Kabbadi, squash player Dipika Rebecca Pallikal, H. Boniface Prabhu (wheelchair tennis), mountaineers Love Raj Singh Dharmshaktu and Mamta Sodha and former bureaucrat Praveen Talha.